It looks like Marvel has a new champion. Thor: Ragnarok is the latest movie to join the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, and according to the critics, it's also the best. The intergalactic battle flick with an unexpected quirky twist has received nearly unanimous rave reviews ahead of its release, and now Thor: Ragnarok is officially the best-reviewed Marvel movie ever on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
One day ahead of its Nov. 3 release, Thor: Ragnarok is holding steady at an impressive 96 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. That puts the new release slightly above Iron Man, which has held its status as the most critically lauded Marvel movie since it first kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008. In the almost decade since Iron Man was released, Marvel has put out sixteen more blockbuster superhero movies that all coexist in the same universe. Despite the fierce competition, 2008's Iron Man has always remained on top in ratings with its 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but apparently it just couldn't survive the Ragnarok.
Perhaps the most ironic thing about the Thor and Hulk-starring team-up topping the MCU in ratings is that the two heroes' solo films before this are by far the lowest rated Marvel movies on Rotten Tomatoes. Thor's standalone movies have easily been the least well-received of any of the Avengers' solo efforts — although his first movie Thor got an acceptable 77 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, that still put it below nearly every other MCU movie, and the follow-up Thor: The Dark World holds the dishonor of being the worst-reviewed Marvel movie with a 66 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
The only other MCU movie close to Dark World is the Hulk's only solo movie The Incredible Hulk, which fared only mildly better with a 67 percent. Of course, it's not totally fair to compare the Hulk we see in Thor: Ragnarok to the one that debuted in the MCU in 2008, since the role has since been recast from Edward Norton to Mark Ruffalo.
Take a look at the complete list of how the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies fall in terms of Rotten Tomatoes ratings below:
- Thor: Ragnarok — 96 percent
- Iron Man — 94 percent
- The Avengers — 92 percent
- Spider-Man: Homecoming — 92 percent
- Guardians of the Galaxy — 91 percent
- Captain America: Civil War — 90 percent
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier — 89 percent
- Doctor Strange — 89 percent
- Ant-Man — 82 percent
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — 82 percent
- Captain America: The First Avenger — 80 percent
- Iron Man 3 — 79 percent
- Thor — 77 percent
- Avengers: Age of Ultron — 75 percent
- Iron Man 2 — 73 percent
- The Incredible Hulk — 67 percent
- Thor: The Dark World — 66 percent
You may be wondering how two of Marvel's least successful heroes in terms of ratings were able to produce the best-received movie in the whole Marvel universe. As most of the reviews point out, the answer is the director. The first two Thor films were helmed by directors with backgrounds in weighty dramas: the first movie was directed by Shakespearean expert Kenneth Branagh, and the second by prestige television mainstay Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones, The Sopranos). But the third movie took an unexpected turn for the silly by bringing in New Zealand comedian-turned-director Taika Waititi, who is best known for his beloved, off-kilter comedies like What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
The glowing reception that Thor: Ragnarok is receiving is a good bit of momentum for Marvel, since this movie closely follows the also incredibly highly rated Spider-Man: Homecoming from just a couple months ago. The studio was definitely looking to reestablish its dominance in the superhero genre after its rival DC found itself with a critical and box office smash Wonder Woman earlier this year. Wonder Woman became DC's highest rated movie with a 92 percent, which still places it a bit below Ragnarok.
Of course, with the movie only just starting to be released, its Rotten Tomatoes grade is still subject to change a bit, but the current 96 percent does reflect the reviews of all major film review outlets, and it's definitely a good sign that Thor: Ragnarok has won its place at the very top of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.